Undernutrition in children

Childhood undernutrition produces impaired ponderal and linear growth with wasting and stunting, immune and metabolic dysfunction, altered development of the CNS and another abnormalities.



Acute malnutrition in children is classified by the degree of wasting, with moderate disease the weight-for length measurement that is two or three standard deviation below the median, and for severe acute malnutrition the weight-for-length measurement is that of more than three standard deviation below the median.



Children with these levels of malnutrition have defects in their gut microbiome, which leaves them with microbial communities that are younger than those of healthy counterparts.



Undernutrition in children, implies  an individual is not getting enough calories, protein, or micronutrients.



The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that malnutrition accounts for 54 percent of child mortality worldwide, about 1 million children.



Childhood underweight is the cause for about 35% of all deaths of children under the age of five years worldwide (WHO).



The main causes of childhood undernutrition are often related to: poverty, unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene, factors related to society, diseases, maternal factors, and gender issues.



Malnutrition is associated  with â…“ of all childhood deaths.



Malnutrition is especially dangerous for women and children, as malnourished women will usually have malnourished fetuses while they are pregnant.



Malnutrition can lead to physically and mentally stunted children.



Children under 5 years of age are at most risk of malnutrition.



Malnutrition during early stages of development have negative effects on growth and intellectual development which can not be reversed.



Breaking the cycle of malnutrition during early childhood development can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty among poor communities.



Globally,162 million children show symptoms such as stunting, which is an indicator of malnourishment.



Common micronutrient deficiencies are iron, zinc, iodine, and vitamin A, and can cause an increase of illness due to compromised immune systems or abnormal physiology and development.



Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM) is form of malnutrition that affects children.: PEM can appear as conditions marasmus, kwashiorkor, and an intermediate state of marasmus-kwashiorkor. 



There are three commonly used measures for detecting malnutrition in children:












Only 9 percent of children exhibit stunting, underweight, and wasting.



Children with severe acute malnutrition are very thin, but they often also have swollen hands and feet.



Children with severe malnutrition are very susceptible to infection.



Undernutrition in children causes direct structural damage to the brain, impairs infant motor development and behavior.



Undernourished  children before age two and gain weight quickly later in childhood and in adolescence are at high risk of chronic diseases related to nutrition.



There is a strong association between undernutrition and child mortality.



Even mild malnutrition doubled the risk of mortality for respiratory and diarrheal disease:: risk is greatly increased in more severe cases of malnutrition.



After recovering from severe malnutrition, children often remain stunted for the rest of their lives.



Girls who are undernourished girls tend to grow into short adults and are more likely to have small children.



Children who are undernourished are more likely to be short in adulthood, have lower educational achievement and economic status, and give birth to smaller infants.



Causes of undernutrition:  


Inadequate food intake, infections, psychosocial deprivation, lack of sanitation and hygiene, social inequality and perhaps genetics.



Kwashiorkor caused by inadequate dietary protein intake, shows signs of thinning hair, edema, inadequate growth, and weight loss.



Inadequate food intake such as a lack of proteins can lead to Kwashiorkor, Marasmus and other forms of Protein–energy malnutrition.



It is estimated that globally, half of all cases of undernutrition in children under five were caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene, causing repeated diarrhea and intestinal worm infections as a result of inadequate sanitation.



In almost all countries, the poorest quintile of children has the highest rate of malnutrition.



Rates of child malnutrition are  much higher in low income countries (36 percent) compared to middle income countries (12 percent) and the United States (1 percent).



Diarrhea and other infections cause malnutrition through: decreased nutrient absorption, decreased intake of food, increased metabolic requirements, and direct nutrient loss.



Parasite infections, in particular with helminths can also lead to malnutrition.



Other causes of  chronic intestinal inflammation may lead to malnutrition, such as some cases of untreated celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.



The nutritional level of mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding strongly affects the nutrition of children 5 years and younger.



Very young mothers who are not fully developed have low birth weight infants.




Infants born to young mothers who are not fully developed are found to have low birth weights.



Maternal nutrition affects newborn baby body size and composition.



Maternal Iodine-deficiency usually causes brain damage in their offspring: some cases cause extreme physical and mental retardation. 



Maternal body size is strongly associated with the size of newborn children.



Short stature of the mother and poor maternal nutrition stores increase the risk of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR).



Iodine supplement trials in pregnant women have been shown to reduce offspring deaths during infancy and early childhood by 29 percent.



Universal salt iodization has largely replaced this need..



Breastfeeding can reduce rates of malnutrition and dehydration caused by diarrhea.



Breastfeeding reduces mortality in infants and young children.



WHO estimates that  malnutrition accounts for 54 percent of child mortality worldwide, about 1 million children, and that children that are underweight is the cause for about 35% of all deaths of children under the age of five years worldwide.



Underweight children are more vulnerable to almost all infectious diseases.



The indirect disease burden of malnutrition is estimated to be an order of magnitude higher than the disease burden of the direct effects of malnutrition.



The combination of direct and indirect deaths from malnutrition caused by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices is estimated to lead to 860,000 deaths per year in children under five years of age.






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